As you know on Fridays I usually bring you guest authors or new books. Today, I go one better and I’ll do both. I read about my guest today, Lorna Lee, in one of the blogs I follow, and found her spontaneous, fascinating, and refreshingly honest. She confessed that although she enjoys writing and sharing her thoughts in her blog, she hasn’t explored social media and is relying on word-of-mouth to get her book to the attention of the readers. I though you’d like to meet her and when I contacted her, she kindly agreed to share some information about herself and her books.
And without further ado, I leave you with Lorna Lee!
In her former life as a sociology professor, Lorna published many academic and research papers. Creative writing is a new path taken since her premature disability retirement in 2006 due to Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.
Never Turn Back is her second book and first novel. Her first book is a memoir entitled How Was I Supposed to Know? That book was awarded Best Memoir, 2012 by the Adirondack Writing Center in their Annual Literary Award Contest. In 2010, she was a finalist in the memoir genre of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Contest with her short story, Monkey Business.
Lorna currently lives with the man of her dreams and the dog of her dreams in the home of her dreams in the Portland, Oregon area. She keeps herself busy by writing, quilting, walking, meditating, and blogging.
To find out more about Lorna and her current shenanigans, visit her blog, lornasvoice.com. She can be contacted via a page on her blog dedicated to this novel.
And here, her new book:
Meri Vaarsara had a dream and something to prove. She also had incredibly bad fortune and even worse timing.
Her dream was to become a famous fashion designer in Paris, a dream born from a need to prove herself worthy of love and a happy life, something her stern Finnish mother never fostered but her seafaring father always knew was hers for the taking. So at the tender age of sixteen, Meri left the security of her family and her home for a country where she didn’t speak the language and she didn’t know a soul.
Paris in the late 1920s was not friendly to immigrants, even those with extraordinary talents. Forced to find work as a domestic, Meri forged ahead through turns of fate and misfortune as Paris braced for Hitler’s invasion. By choice, Meri becomes a single mother caring for her half-Jewish daughter throughout the occupation of France. Once the war was over, she used her feminine wiles to find her way to America, the land of milk and honey, with the hope of finally being able to work as a designer in a New York fashion house. But that too was not to be, until fate and a kind stranger stepped in to help.
What Readers Should Know
The “bones” of this story are real. What happens in the story happened to real people. I simply didn’t know all the details that linked all the events, so I had to make up a great deal of the narrative to form a story that flowed. I changed names and places in America to protect the privacy of my family, mostly my mother (who for some reason doesn’t want to be famous).
Where You Can Buy the Book
Amazon. com for U.S. customers
Amazon.co.uk for customers in the U.K.
Amazon,fr for customers in France
And here a few reviews by some very discerning pens:
“Never Turn Back by Lorna Lee is the remarkable journey of Meri, a young Finnish woman through the 20th century.
Brought up by a critical mother and a mostly absent but philosophically minded father in the quiet Finnish countryside Meri dreams of bigger things and she leaves for Paris soon after the Civil War and WW1, to pursue a career in Fashion abroad.
Immigrant life in its harsh reality falls short of her expectations, but she proves determined to keep going. Her life is a series of choices, of exploiting and being exploited, friends and foes. An impressive life story, a loving tribute to a strong woman and a masterful illustration of life’s many obstacles on a war torn continent.
Woven into the narrative are great details about the historical setting and the times. The book covers a lot of ground, geographically and historically, and focuses on many different aspects of Meri’s life as she grows as a person and as her life and priorities change: Her ambitions, her ideas, old and new emotional scars. The book is a moving and enlightening journey.
Meri is a fascinating character and her story demonstrates the element of chance and faith excellently. She stayed with me long after I had finished reading this remarkable book.” Review by Christoph Fischer, author of The Three Nations Trilogy (historical fiction novels), Time to Let Go, and Conditions.
“Dreaming of becoming a famous designer, the protagonist, Meri, burns through on the page in a once vibrant Paris bracing for Hitler’s invasion. Faced with a pregnancy by a Jewish man, Meri is intent on keeping the secret and surviving at all costs in an increasingly hostile environment. Never Turn Back is a captivating narrative, a metaphor for the longing and conviction of youth that surmounts horrors and tragedies. In one heart-wrenching turn after another the brilliant writing of Lorna Earl weaves a compelling tale—based on real people—that glues the reader to the page and keeps the imagery of this story in our minds, and hearts, for days after the last page is shut.” Review by Paulette Mahurin, author of The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and His Name was Ben.
Thanks so much to Lorna Lee for this her first visit to my blog (I hope there will be many more) , thanks to all of your for reading, and you know the drill, like, comment, share, and don’t forget to CLICK!
Ah, and from tomorrow I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to write the draft of a novel (at least 50000 words) in 30 days. I hope I’ll still have the time to share new books with you, but might also reblog some favourites, or just talk about the process. And if you don’t see me very often, I’ll just be writing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!